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Speaker seeks names of MP mediators in visa trafficking

MP forwards queries to FM on ‘repatriation’ of expats

KUWAIT CITY, April 27: Speaker of the National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanim sent greetings on the advent of the holy month of Ramadan to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah, His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid, the MPs and Kuwaiti people.

Speaker of the National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanim

In addition, Al-Ghanim called on Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Interior and State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Anas Al-Saleh to address him through a direct letter stating the names of MPs who mediated in favor of visa traders and others proven to have violated the law. He intends to refer the letter to the Assembly, stressing that he rejects any attempt to hinder ongoing efforts to identify and punish visa traders.

He said the visa trading issue is not new, but the recent crisis removed the masks of monsters in the form of trafficking in humans. He pointed out it is unacceptable that MPs play the role of a mediator and impede the referral of visa trading files to the Public Prosecution, especially since they are supposed to make laws to determine who is innocent and who is guilty.
He added it is deplorable for a lawmaker to claim that he is combating visa trading in public, while supporting visa traders secretly. He thanked Al-Saleh and other officials at the Ministry of Interior for their efforts in uncovering visa trading crimes and referring a number of files to the prosecution. He said this step should have been taken a long time ago, but it is better late than never.

He affirmed it is the responsibility of the Assembly to take action against MPs proven to be involved in visa trading.

Meanwhile, Al-Ghanim confirmed that a photographer working in the Assembly is infected with coronavirus and all the necessary procedures have been taken.

He added the Ministry of Health is checking all individuals who interacted with the photographer. He went on to say the chairpersons and rapporteurs of parliamentary committees were invited to the Assembly meeting slated for Monday to discuss holding legislative sessions.

He instructed the chairpersons of committees to quickly complete reports on bills regarding coronavirus to pave way for deliberation and voting at the Assembly. He disclosed some employees at the Secretary General of the Assembly have been given vacation according to the directives issued by health authorities, adding that the minimum number of employees report for work to carry out important tasks.

On the other hand, MP Muhammad Al-Dallal forwarded queries to Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Ahmed Nasser Al-Muhammad about the plan to repatriate Indians, Egyptians, Bangladeshis and Filipinos who want to return home including those who violated the Residency Law.

He wants to know the schedule of repatriation; total number of the above-mentioned expatriates who will be repatriated; obstacles to the repatriation process; steps taken by these countries to repatriate their citizens from other Gulf countries, Europe and America among others; if they dealt with these countries in the same way they have done with Kuwait; action taken against the above-mentioned countries; and measures that will be taken against them later, if any.

He also requested for a list of aid granted to these countries since 1990 in the form of grants, loans, investments, development projects and waiving loan payments.

He asked about the profits that Kuwait gained from providing such aid. Commenting on the same issue, MP Saleh Ashour said there is no need to put expatriates who violated the Residency Law in the deportation and quarantine centers where they receive food and drinks, in addition to health care for free; while their countries refused to receive them.

He called for releasing them and let them fend for themselves, instead of adding to the burdens of health authorities and other concerned institutions. In another development, MP Abdulkareem Al-Kandari urged the government to grant exceptional salaries to citizens who could not complete appointment or retirement procedures due to the closure of public institutions.

He pointed out these citizens and their families are suffering, considering the retirees no longer receive their salaries and they have yet to start receiving their pension. He added the newly appointed employees no longer receive unemployment allowance and they do not receive salaries as well.

Also, he asked Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr Soud Al-Harbi to amend the list of subjects included in the online education for Kuwaiti scholarship students who have been repatriated but want to continue their studies in overseas universities which resumed remote education.

Furthermore, in response to the letter of the Public Authority of Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) to the State Ministry for Municipality Affairs requesting for allocation of land measuring nine million square meters in Sulaibiya to be used as agricultural plots and fish farms; Al-Kandari warned the ministry against approving this request.

He disclosed that this request was previously rejected by the Municipal Council, emphasizing the need to prevent manipulation of food security and to protect public money.

Moreover, MP Kalil Al-Saleh appealed to the government to support the Kuwaiti farmers; indicating those engaged in the importation of produce enjoy privileges that are not granted to nationals. He said the Kuwaiti farmers are forced to sell their produce at the lowest prices; hence, they have no chance to compete with the importers. He then underscored the need to support local products in light of the coronavirus crisis.

MP Hamdan Al-Azmi criticized the carelessness of the government in terms of protecting citizens’ health and safety in view of the resumption of importing fruits and vegetables from Egypt. He wondered about the reasons behind this step, taking into consideration the circulated information about the use of sewage water for irrigation in the farms in Egypt.

By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff

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